Essex Record Office

Hannah Salisbury, 15.01.2015
Reaching new audiences
The Essex Record Office is the county archive for Essex. The majority of visitors to our Chelmsford base are from local postcodes, so to reach new audiences we have now run four pop-ups: two in Saffron Walden, and one each in Tilbury and Harwich.

These pop-ups were based on maps in our collections, and in most cases featured an especially old, large or interesting map, surrounded by other maps and images that show how an area has developed over time.

The pop-ups were also an opportunity for people to get advice from staff on research or conservation issues.

We began by identifying locations where a suitable map existed, or areas from which we have few visitors. We then investigated local venues, and approached a local group to ask if they would work with us; this proved vital in gaining local support and attracting visitors.

The pop-ups were relatively low- cost. We persuaded most venues not to charge us, and we only had to hire a van to transport material on one occasion. Display material was produced in-house, and all publicity was through free channels. We chose not to charge for entry, but we did collect donations and sell publications.

15012015-essex3 (ID 1126370)

The biggest logistical challenge was transporting documents and returning them to storage before our building closed, so the events finished a little earlier than they might have otherwise.

These pop-ups have been real cross-team initiatives, and have been fun and energising to be involved with. We have had a great response, with 1,692 visitors and lots of positive comments.

Hannah Salisbury is an access and participation officer at the Essex Record Office